In the fall of 2020, student Phelan Dickerson was denied formal candidacy in Sam Houston’s Counselor Education master’s program because of her candid attitude and propensity to speak up when she believed changes needed to be made in her program. In March 2021, after being forced to work through a remediation plan, Dickerson was granted formal candidacy in the program. After Dickerson tweeted critically about the Counselor Education program, Sam Houston notified her in April that she was being dismissed from the program. FIRE wrote to the university on May 19, expressing concern that Dickerson’s dismissal was contrary to the university’s First Amendment obligations. FIRE sent a second letter on June 3, alerting the university’s provost, after which the university reversed its decision, allowing Dickerson to continue in her degree program.
FIRE Case Files